The Temple Owls are looking to close out an American Athletic Conference game soon so they can put an end to their losing ways.
Coach Aaron McKie’s squad has dropped four consecutive contests — the last three by three points or less — and Tuesday travels to Tulsa, Okla., to play the equally struggling Golden Hurricane, who are riding a three-game losing streak.
Tulsa was the last team Temple defeated — in a 76-67 home win in Philadelphia on Jan. 26.
On Friday, the Owls (4-8, 3-8) lost to Cincinnati 71-69 while playing without top scorer Damian Dunn after just 12 minutes of game time. The redshirt freshman guard from Kinston, N.C., who averaged 15 points a game in Temple’s first 11 contests, injured his knee and went scoreless for the first time in his career.
McKie said fouls occurring late during the spate of losses continue to plague his team.
“It’s starting to get repetitive,” said McKie. “I don’t want to really get into officiating because they have a job to do. I think late-game situations, some of those calls you just have to let go.”
Tulsa (9-9, 6-7) has won just once in its last six games, with its last victory coming in a 77-68 triumph at East Carolina on Jan. 30.
In the first meeting between the schools, Temple jumped out to a 44-25 halftime lead and Tulsa’s second-half surge got the Hurricane to within seven, but the comeback fizzled in the last two minutes.
Rey Idowu scored a career-high 20 points in the loss while Elijah Joiner had 15 and Brandon Rachal added 12. Temple was led with 22 points by Khalif Battle.
In his seventh year leading the Golden Hurricane, coach Frank Haith said the burden of a midseason meltdown is wearing on his team and his big men haven’t played up to standard recently.
“The guys are stressing a bit,” Haith said. “We’re getting nothing out of our post players. It’s going to be hard for us to be who we need to be or successful in this league … if you don’t have good play out of your post players.”
–Field Level Media